Finally, science is figuring out how we’re going to shrink our guts and end the nation’s obesity epidemic: We simply have to stop eating for sixteen hours at a time, every day, for the rest of our lives. The approach really seems to be working for mice, anyway. A new study by the Salk Institute finds that mice restricted to eating a high-calorie diet only during an active eight-hour period, then refused food during the rest of the day, are nearly as trim as a sample of mice kept on a low-calorie, low-fat diet. (A third group of mice could eat whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and they quickly became a bunch of fatasses.) “We have to come up with something that is a simple alternative to calorie counting,” the study’s lead biologist tells the L.A. Times. And while starving ourselves is easier than counting calories, it’s also idiotic.
The study indicates that fasting over a sixteen-hour period every day greatly reduces the frequency of high cholesterol and blood-sugar levels. Our biological digestion process needs a break to maintain metabolism that balances fat levels, artery clogging, and glucose deposits. Remember, this study is in mice, not people, but the sixteen-hour fast appears to allow all that extra energy, stored as fat, the chance to break down more efficiently, leading one hopeful human to rejoice: “It seems easier to do something like that than to join a gym and do cardio.”
It’s so easy, right? If you eat breakfast at 7 a.m., all you have to do is stop eating every day by 3:00 p.m., which is a totally reasonable, normal time to finish dinner. We bet there will be people who try this, and we will look upon them scornfully while we enjoy our mid-afternoon snacks.